Where the tents sprout like mushroom caps and dangling lights illuminate the night sky, individuals from all walks of life joined together this past week at Tent City: Rising, an event of unity.
Biannually, the Campus Peace Action club illustrates an ideal, peaceful community that befalls within the tranquil surroundings of the UCF Arboretum. For seven days and six nights from November 9th through 14th, familiar and unfamiliar faces are invited to come together and coexist through music, art, and a whole lotta love. All workshops are hosted and executed by members of the CPA club and shared with the community.
“Tent City started back in 2003 as a response to the wars in Iraq. The event has moved around campus from the free speech zone, to memory mall, and now the arboretum. Over the years, the event became less politically fueled, evolving into a place for peaceful gathering and self-expression.” Said Jaimie Lanning, host of Tent City: Rising. “It’s the first place I felt at home at UCF. I’m just happy to be involved in creating an event that continues to spread that feeling.”
The event has evolved just as its participants have. Tent City is a space where anyone can explore the purest parts of themselves and share those parts securely within the community. Each day of the event is devoted to unity, expressed through drum circles, yoga, art, meditation, and various educational workshops. “On Tuesday night my band, Garden Party, played a surprise set to an amazing crowd,” Lanning said. “There’s just an indescribable feeling that you get from creating music with your friends.”
Past and present members of Tent City alike have expressed that the best way to experience the event was to enter with a clear mind, free of premature suppositions of the world, and allow the light emulating from surrounding people shine onto you. This allows people to experience a world without routine and enables them to bask in the now; something these members wish to carry on in their every day lives.
Some walk in alone, but none walk out alone.
“You can’t walk alone. Many have given the illusion, but none have really walked alone. Man is not made that way. Each man is bedded in his people, their history, their culture, and their values.” – Peter Abrahams